Inbound Marketing is a powerful online marketing strategy that connects sellers with buyers using content creation, blogging, search engine optimization and social media interaction. If you’re considering an inbound marketing consultant to help grow qualified traffic to your website here are five qualifications to consider to help guide your decision.
1) Certification. Hubspot, the preeminent Internet marketing software provider has a rigorous training program for it's partners. There are two levels. The first is a Basic Certification. This covers a wide range of basic topics related to Inbound Marketing such as SEO, landing page development and blogging. Of the 4,200 people that have taken the Hubspot certification program 65% have passed. The second level is Silver Certification. The third level is Gold Certification. Only 5% of parnter agencies have this qualification. Here you learn advanced Inbound Marketing techniques related reporting analytics, lead nurturing and CRM. In either case, this is an industry standard worth considering.
2) Content Creation. The engine that drives effective Inbound Marketing is content creation. Blogging, premium content (such as whitepapers) and video are all important ways to seed “thought leadership” content on the web. A good consultant has the resources to either create this content on your behalf or assist your staff with this critical step in the campaign. It is important to know if your inbound expert has blogging resources relative to your industry. Be sure to ask about video as well. A good advisor knows how to create this content inexpensively.
3) SEO Expertise. SEO is integral to how and what content is created. Specifically, what topics and keywords will resonate most with your buyers. SEO needs to be built into all of your content, especially blogging. Ask your marketer to describe how they would optimize a blog entry. At the very least they should touch on title tags, meta descriptions, image alt tags and linking (external and internal) strategies. Ask about techniques link building such as newswire submissions and blog commenting. Also, competitive link analysis to see where your competitors are gaining their inbound links. Finally, you will want to inquire if your consultant can optimize your video content for greater search engine exposure.
4) Website Management Experience. Determine the experience your inbound marketing consultant has running websites. This experience means understanding technology, editorial, online marketing, PR, analytics and finance. This will help you gauge their ability to recognize all of the elements an Inbound Marketing campaign entails. Moreover, this provides an indication of their ability to work with all levels of your organization.
5) Length of Engagement. There are no quick fixes. Ask your inbound marketing expert how long it will be to see results. The proper response is that if process is followed and the appropriate resources are dedicated, about four to six months to begin to see results including more traffic and leads to your website.
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